Some of you may have noticed my longish absence here. Not meaning to scare anybody, but I may show up again, but right now I am learning photoshop and learning to print. Here is a question and I hope you can help.
I am looking for an advice on:
a) how to choose paper type (gloss/luster/matte) (figer/canvas...)based on the type of photographs I have.
b) brands of paper (this is less important to me at this stage than a))
I have a colour managed system based on X-rite callibrated monitor and the use of softproofing for printing on ICC-aware, photoshop controled Epson R1900 printer using pigments (K4 pigments I beleive - cartridges # 87). Untill a few months ago, I viewed photos mostly on the monitor. I have been printing 8x10 (or proofing mostly) and 13x19. I tried samples of glossy and Matte paper. My preference runst in most instances to the matte, but not always and I am not able to predict what to use when.
Most of my photos are landscapes, often extreme contrast (shooting against the sun (!!!) with water reflection, but also some on an overcast, foggy day, some B&W or duotone. Of cause I could experiment, but at $60+ per box, I woud appreciate some guidance. Any good links/books? Any suggestions?
Thank you Pavel
A lot of it is personal taste, I love B&W's on glossy paper, I think portraits are best on Matte, again, probably just personal.
I do most of my printing for Camera Club Competition on pearl paper, kind of a mid-point between Gloss and matte.
Does it take a certain paper type to make a photo pass or fail?
I prefer glossy for everything. Keeps things simple.
When something comes up that I think would be better on another type I just print it at a source that has those choices instead of doing it myself.
I'm using the R1800, the predecessor to your printer, and have used Epson Premium Glossy and Premium Luster photo paper in the past. The Epson paper is very nice, and I still have a fair bit of it lying around, and continue to use it for anything that's going to be framed. For 'exhibition' prints I'm now using Harman Gloss FB Al almost exclusively. I say almost because I've found that the glossy paper is more likely to give me colour tints when I print a black and white image, so that's when I choose the Epson Luster or Harman Matt FB Al instead. But the reality is that I hardly ever print anything but colour. Glossy colour is what these printers are designed for, and I've rarely been inclined to do otherwise.
I have seen many prints where the ink had more gloss than the paper (in broad sections) and this distracted me so much I couldn't really enjoy the image itself.
That's the main reason I prefer gloss paper.
The one time I tried a matte paper was because it was the only thing the printer had in larger sizes (I think it was the usual Fuji commercial stuff) and I hated the texture, but I'm sure that there are much better choices available for home printing.
What impact does the glass in a frame have on matte papers and the enjoyment of them?
Craig, I think you are onto something there. B&W photos tend to have high contrast and a lot of detail and having a good deap lack is important. This is I beleive where glossy shines. Portraits are often less contrasty and have a narrower colour range cose to the center of any gamut and so they do well on matte, which I think has narrower gamut range. This is the advice I also got from another photographer. I beleive I get more "out of gamut range" when I use matte paper than when I set on glossy during softproofing.
Does it take a certain paper type to make a photo pass or fail?
I agree, that paper selection in itself may not make a photograph pass or fail and I understand your message that I should focus my attention on taking better photos. However, I see photography as a series of steps, many of which may not be in themselves absolutely critical, but these various "near misses" put together degrade the image. And so I do pay attention to paper selection too, even though I may have more serious deficiencies. Hopefuly over time I will improve on issues big and small.
Matthew, thanks for detailed response.
My aim when I print is always to frame. I have been warned about using the gloss, as this supposedly causes too much reflection. Looking at Epson semigloss (?) luster? is it the same thing? photos, the photos looked like posters and it turned me off. Matthew am I wrong about that? Do your photos on Epson luster have a feel of posters? Also the paper has low gsm and it felt insubstantial. However you and others and looking at my photos convinced me clearly that matte paper is not well suited to some of my photos, and as glossy is not recomeneded for framing because of the glare problem, luster may have to be it. I will check out Harman, if Vistek has a sample. I talked to Christine? in Vistek, that seems to be the guru on papers in Vistek and she recommended Moab, once it was clear that I want a decent quality but not necessarily the best (the German brand starting with H - whatever it is).
Keith Alan, I do not know what paper printer combination you use, but with Epson Matte and Inkpress fine art matte and using Epson #87 pigments I see absolutely no gloss whatsoever, regardless of the angle of lighting. I am more concerned about the blacks which are not true blacks and what I suspect is somewhat narrow gammut, although the colours do come out quite saturated.
My overall message than is:
Try semigloss/luster/pearl/satin (are these synonyms?) when the contrast/detail/gammut is too lage for matte. This I think is the main issue for me.
Beware of colour shifts with glossy with B&W (but Craig has no problem?)
Select a brand. I think I will go to Vistek. They have samples, some with photos on them with different paper. I will pick something and give it a go. If you guys have any other ideas, please let me know. I really appreciate that you took time to help me out.
Paper surface is an aesthetic decision. There is no right or wrong. Generally speaking glossy paper gives the impression of brighter whites because of its reflective surface. OTOH that same reflective quality can make the blacks appear less velvety & intense. Deep blacks generally (IMO) look better on matte surfaced paper. Luster can be a nice compromise in this respect. As for canvas or other textured paper, this depends on the subject. They can work well where fine detail is not crucial to the subject, portraits and many landscapes, but would be a poor choice for a super detailed photo of machinery. As a rule of thumb I try to match the paper to the texture of the actual subject. Smooth, shiny subjects get glossy paper. Ordinary ones get matte or watercolor surface. Occasionally I will go to canvas for subjects where I am not concerned with great detail. As with all rules of thumb I do not follow it 100%.
Just a quick comment from my experience. I have many photos framed and displayed under glass (regular...not even non-glare). They were printed by me or professionally on glossy paper. They all look just fine.
I just purchased a new Epson wide format printer with a supply of Epson glossy paper in 3 different sizes, so I hope I'm on the right track. So far I'm satisfied with the resulting prints with the Claria ink. I've also ordered some 12'x12" paper for scrapbooking projects from Epson in a non-gloss finish. It was the only finish available in that size. If I find I need glossy in that size, I'll print on 13x19 and trim.
As the others have said, I think the choice of paper finish is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong.
However when it comes to the brand of paper (and ink) I think the choice becomes more important.
In nearly all cases I would recommend using the same brand of paper (and ink) as the printer. That is, if you have an Epson printer than use epson ink and epson paper, or Canon paper and ink in a Canon printer, etc..
The manufacturers go to a lot of effort to match the ink and paper to give the best results, and if you mix and match brands then you will almost certainly be undoing a lot of that effort. Not only will more likely get more accurate colours and avoid things like blacks having a different gloss to the paper, but I'll bet the prints will last longer without fading when ink and paper are matched.
The only exception I know of to this "rule" (for Canon printers and ink at least), is the Ilford Galerie range of paper which is excellent.
A short while ago I decided to print a pattern on a t-shirt, but on a black t-shirt.
The picture (of a cat's face) has a black surround
I found that you can have red, blue or green shades of Black.
It was very difficult to get a close match to the t-shirt .
I decided to do a test with a number if strips with various combinations. Still only about 95% successful.
Awyeah, too true..a veritable minefield of blacks out there, all of which seem the same till one attempts to match them to an extant sample.
Here is an update for me. After trying different papers, I use Epson Premium Luster on my Epson 3880. Besides testing samples of real papers, I "soft-tested" many others by downloading ICC profiles and testing how they handle my difficult photos with wide gamut. I now buy 8.5"x11", 13x19 and 17x22 sheets. In quantity this paper is cheap $169/100 sheets 13"x19", considering the gamut (one of the best - beaten in my softproofing tests only by Hahnemuhle) very good Dmax, decent brightness and tolerable surface visual characteristics and texture. I split big boxes with friends to save quite substantially.
Pavel, I probably know a great deal less than you about the technical side of printing, and I have a fairly simple approach to most aspects of my photo hobby. So all I can really do is offer a couple of points merely as "food for your thoughts":
1st point: A couple of years ago, I attended a talk by a rep from a paper company, most of which did go into the brain, but then went straight out again! However, he made one comment almost as a throw-away line, such that I doubt most of the audience even noticed - "The world is not glossy." That caught my attention, as I was just starting to print at home, and it stayed in my head, so -
2nd point: I made a general principle for my own work (not a hard and fast rule) - if the subject and/or other main elements of an image are glossy, e.g. glass, shiny metal, gloss painted surfaces, etc., then I try a print on gloss paper; but otherwise I use matte, on which most things do look very natural to me.
I would say ..... Use your own judgement. Everybody's taste is different.
I would use the matt for landscapes and animals, but would probably use the gloss for water involved scenes or any subject that has a sheen on it
I am curious about what you finally chose to use?
I have been tempted to try Hahnemuhle Photo Rag. I have seen some extraordinary images on it.